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Table 4 Child mental well-being themes during COVID-19 restrictions

From: Associations of physical activity and sedentary behaviors with child mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic

Theme Sub-Themes Definition Examples
Adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions Limitations
-no in-person school
-change in routine
-stuck at home
-online school
Lack of Socializing
-no in-person interaction
-no organized sports
The impact of COVID-19 and SAH orders on daily life. This includes in-person school closures, park closures, organized sports closures, online learning, staying at home, and reduced in-person contact. “I don’t understand why we can’t do these things … I don’t understand why I can’t go to the playground”
“He’s like, ‘I thought we were going to get to go back to normal at some point.’ And he was really excited about starting kindergarten and he was like, ‘I don’t get to do that?’”
“I think the impact is coming from just the extensive amount of time that we have all spent in the same house”
“She’s definitely been very up and down. She really missed seeing friends, missed seeing extended family, missed going places. She really missed school, that was really hard for her …”
“He misses his friends a lot. When we drive by the school, he gets pretty emotional …”
COVID-19 concern Understanding
Health concerns
-family and friends
-hand washing
-staying at home
-limiting contact with people
What children understand about COVID-19, the reasons for COVID-19 restrictions, mechanisms for transmission, symptoms, and severity. How concerned they are about themselves, family, and friends getting sick and the importance of prevention. “He talks about a matter-of-factly. ‘Well, we can’t do X, Y, and Z because of the germs. Are the germs going to be over yet so that we can do X, Y, and Z? or we have to wash your hands because of the germs are outside’”
“He asks lots of questions about it and on occasion he will express concern like, “Will I get sick? Are you sick? Are you going to get sick?”
“Her concern would just be if her or a family member would become ill, what would become of it, that’s her fear.”
“She is concerned about it when we started kind of seeing like grandparents again, she was nervous to hug them or touch them or get too close to them … So it definitely made her more cautious.”
What helps with mental well-being during COVID-19 Activity
-getting outside
-physical activity
Social Technology
-multi-player games
-online chats
What aspects of daily living helped mitigate the mental well-being effects of COVID-19 restrictions. “Staying active is key during this time.”
“As the weather got better and we could be outside doing more, I think some of that was alleviated just because he didn’t feel so confined.”
“They do a lot of FaceTime and some of those apps like House Party and things like that so they can actually see each other and talk and a group of them being together.”
“I did notice that once the learning plan started up and they were having the Zoom calls with their teachers and she could talk to her friends … her mood greatly improved. And she hasn’t been as affected since then.”